Google Merges 2 Ad Formats Used Most by Dealers

Google Merges 2 Ad Formats Used Most by Dealers

The new ad format, launching this summer, will bring new features that car dealerships can tap into to make their advertising dollars go further.

Google recently announced that two of its popular advertising formats, Performance Max campaigns and Vehicle Ads, are merging into one format to provide advertisers and dealers with greater capability. The exciting new ad format, launching this summer to all eligible auto advertisers in the U.S. and Canada, will bring new features that car dealerships can tap into to make their advertising dollars go further.

Now more than ever, people are starting their research for a new car online. It is crucial for dealerships to not only be active on Google Ads, but also implement the latest features to stand apart from the competition. The merger of Performance Max and Vehicle Ads will unlock new avenues of growth for dealers in the incredibly competitive digital marketplace.


Performance Max campaigns, launched in 2021, utilize Google’s machine learning technology to automatically select which content type and placement to display the ad. These placements include Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail and the Google Search/Display/Discovery Networks. Google’s powerful AI allows auto marketers to reach online car shoppers at the right moments, promote vehicle inventory and optimize toward conversion goals including qualified leads and dealership visits.


Vehicle Ads are a keyword-based search ad format, which allows auto advertisers to promote their entire inventory of vehicles to interested customers shopping for vehicles on Google. The format shows customers an image of the vehicle with important information such as make, model, price, mileage and advertiser name.

Showing inventory of available vehicles enriches the customer’s purchase experience and provides more qualified leads for auto advertisers. Vehicle Ads help advertisers drive sales by optimizing for both online conversions (leads) and offline conversions (store visits). Clicking on a Vehicle Ad will take the customer to the vehicle description page (VDP) on your website.


While Vehicle Ads lack the artificial intelligence and broad reach of Performance Max, it does have one massive advantage: new and used vehicle feeds directly from the dealership. The newly merged format is an exciting upgrade that will empower advertisers to reap the benefits of Performance Max’s omnichannel approach and Vehicle Ad’s direct access to dealership inventory.

Dealers who utilize the full power of Google’s AI will multiply conversions across the entire Google Ads network and discover new avenues for growth. The newly merged ad format enables dealers and auto advertisers to allocate their budget effectively across channels, ensuring their business achieves maximum budget agility and stays abreast of rapidly changing consumer trends in real-time.

This is a massive shift toward a more intelligent future of advertising. Performance Max campaigns are designed to adapt to changing consumer behavior and trends, making them a powerful and flexible option for reaching a broad audience across multiple channels. And the added advantages being carried over from Vehicle Ads will create a strong cohesion between the ads and the dealership website.

Many advertising agencies in the automotive industry are already seeing the benefits of Performance Max campaigns to increase ROI for dealerships. With the added benefits of the Vehicle Ad format, Performance Max enables auto advertisers to better help dealers achieve their goals and maximize their ROI.


The new ad format launches this summer to all eligible auto advertisers in the U.S. and Canada. Many digital marketing agencies in the auto industry are already utilizing the previous version of Performance Max, but the implementation of the new ad format will require more work from agencies. It’s best to work with advertising agencies noted as Google Premier Partners to ensure your dealership is fully taking advantage of Google’s powerful ad network.

Performance Max is the future of advertising, offering powerful capabilities to dealers looking to drive high-value conversions. The car buyer journey is constantly evolving and shifting more and more to digital. Make sure your advertising agency is implementing the latest tools to help your dealership reach customers. 

Joe Gillespie is the founder and CEO of Dealer eProcess.

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